TMO's Christmas Marketing Survey – The Results

With Christmas quickly approaching and festivities in full swing, at The Media Octopus we’re interested in understanding when and how the Christmas season starts factoring into marketing planning and campaigns for businesses or a brands.
So, we took to our social media channels and invited our fans and followers to take part in our festive-focused survey to discover more about the marketing side of Christmas, aiming to find out some of the key themes around planning and execution.
Thanks to everyone who responded, from Community Managers and Owners of companies to Social Media Managers and Account Managers, we have certainly gathered some food for thought…

Kicking off festive-themed campaigns

The majority of respondents (45%) plan up 1-3 months ahead of Christmas, whether for their own brand or for clients, with 33% leaving it to November before they start even thinking about the festive season. 3-6 months of planning ahead occurs for the remaining 22%, highlighting that in our survey, brands and marketers react closer to the season rather than up to a year in advance.
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What about in terms of launching a Christmas campaigns or related content? Interestingly, 44% said November, while another 44% answered not until December, which sounds about right to us; any earlier and it could clash with other seasonal events such as Halloween, plus there’s the risk of annoying customers with overdoing the commercial aspect of Christmas too early.
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All I want for Christmas is…Engagement

Let’s clarify here what our respondents established as their main goals from planning and executing Christmas marketing campaigns. The answers, although industry specific, show that for 88% it’s about increasing engagement and also raising brand awareness (66%) as the key aims. An uplift in purchase conversions (44%) and number of pageviews (33%) are other important metrics marketers and brands will be keeping an eye on in the hope that festive campaigns will contribute to.
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For 66% of our respondents, it is ‘very important’ to engage with audiences through Christmas-related content, whether articles, blogs, videos and campaigns. With the vast majority of UK consumers talking and thinking about the festive season, it makes sense for marketers and brands to be seeking ways to interact with their customers and prospects as much as possible.
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Personalised content and communication is the key focus for 88% of those who took part in our survey, which is very fitting at a time when personalisation is an effective means of engaging a consumer on a seemingly more individual level. Social media engagement and promoting brand awareness came a close second (both 66%) in terms of importance, all of which can work in tandem as part of an effective, cross-platform approach for brands and marketers in their campaigns and activities.
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Spreading the festive cheer through marketing

When it comes to running Christmas marketing campaigns, perhaps unsurprisingly the vast majority (88%) chose social media as the key channel, followed by website (55%), print, email and display advertising (all 33%). This certainly highlights a multi-channel approach, which is positive to see at a time when consumers are switching between devices, accessing information and using apps on the go.
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In terms of promotional offers or tactics for Christmas, just under half (44%) replied ‘Yes’, with the majority saying a discount or competition would form part of this, while offering a free item was the plan for 33%. These answers were from the social media and marketing spheres which is interesting to note – we imagine the number for both could have potentially been a lot higher if we had more responses from the retail and food and drink industries.

Which brands get Christmas right?

We wanted to know from those taking part in our survey which brands they thought do Christmas marketing ‘right’, so left it as an open question. The results? It might not come as a surprise that 66% named the retailer John Lewis as achieving the best marketing approach; “they’ve become synonymous with Christmas thanks to their wonderful gifts, products AND of course, their terrific festive marketing campaigns!”
Others have commented that, “Brands are getting better at advertising as they integrate the latest trends”, naming Sainsburys as one example, while another stated: “Retail stores have turned their adverts into a part of Christmas tradition.” Aldi and Marks & Spencer were also mentioned, further highlighting that the retail industry as a whole seem to excel when it comes to festive marketing campaigns.

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